How familiar are you with your employee rights? Employees have not always had the same amount of rights they are entitled to now. Did you know that young children would be sent up chimneys to clean them during the Victorian times? In some cases, very small children as young as eight would be made to do a job where they were literally breathing toxic fumes, while others were put to work in the workhouses and factories of the time. Workers’ rights were practically zero.
Thankfully, employee rights have come a very long way and that isn’t the case anymore, as there are strict laws that prohibit child labour, and dangerous work environments. This is just one example of the many employee rights that we now have, and need to ensure that our employers do not take advantage of.
Not too sure on your employee rights as a full-time employee? Here are five of the main ones you need to know about.
#1: Fair dismissal
Your employer isn’t allowed to fire you for just “any” reason. They need to first give you fair warning, and then have a valid and concrete reason for terminating your contract. If you believe that an employer is trying to sack you unfairly, it’s worth talking to a lawyer for employees about your rights. If the lawyer agrees that the dismissal is unfair, they will help you take your employer to court. Remember that employee rights cover this area of legislation.
#2: Paid vacation days
Every employee has the right to take time off work for vacations and various other reasons. There is a statutory number of paid vacation days that each member of staff is allowed to take in a year. This number will be calculated according to whether you are full or part-time. Casual workers will not get any paid vacation or holiday leave. If you think that you aren’t given enough paid vacation leave, you should raise this issue with your employer.
#3: Paid sick days
Sometimes now called Personal Leave, as well as being given time off for holidays, you will also have a separate set number of days that you can take off for sickness. However, you also need to remember that there is a limit to the number of sick days you can take. If you go over your limit and need more time off, you might have to take unpaid leave. But that all depends on the generosity of your employer. Often, you will be asked to provide something like a doctor’s certificate to demonstrate your reason for being off work.
#4: Workplace health and safety
Your employer also has the right to create a safe workplace for you to carry out all your work in. This is especially important for workers who spend their days in particularly dangerous environments, like factories, or handle dangerous equipment or machinery. Your employer needs to make sure that all machinery and equipment is routinely maintained to a high standard, and that you have all the necessary safety clothing.
#5: A fair wage
Do you think that you are paid a fair wage for the job that you do? If not, you need to speak to your employer or an employment lawyer. Most governments around the world have set a minimum wage, and employers have a legal obligation to pay their workers this amount. However, most jobs are worthy of a higher rate of pay than the minimum wage, so make sure you’re getting paid an amount that you deserve for your work!
Your employee rights are something to fight for
Now that you know all your employee rights, you are in a much better place to improve your working life. If you suspect that something is not happening that you are entitled to, then make sure you do your research, speak to a lawyer, contact a government organisation or otherwise get advice.